One version of women's history, as it has been written into the tiny stitches of quilts. Bial (Portrait of a Farm Family, 1995, etc.) uses the practical craft of quilting as a piecemeal source to rediscover women's heritage, finding that the patterns and fabrics used in patchwork quilts often provide clues to their creators or surrounding circumstances. A friendship quilt, for instance, was signed by all the quilters and given as a remembrance. Pieced quilts made by pioneers, or by women during the Depression, emphasize the scarcity of fabric; they relied on dress scraps, flour sacks, and even tobacco premiums for cloth. African-American and Amish cultures are cited for their unique contributions to the tradition. There are full-color photographs of quilters and the various steps of their craft (explained briefly in the text), along with pictures as bright as stained glass of the quilts themselves. While some quotes are included, many of them hint at longer stories; readers will be awaiting anecdotes or recountings of family history that never come. Otherwise, this is a good companion both to how-to volumes and books on women's history.